Photos from the 2011 Federal Election

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Central Planning doesn't work for Education either

The Society for Quality Education (SQE) blogged about semestering in Ontario's government-run schools. It appears that this is another bad decision made by the bureaucrats at Queens Park.  Analysis of results shows students do not do as well in semestered schools as in unsemestered schools.  As I commented on their blog:
This is another example of why centrally-planned, government-run schools are bad for our children.  Bureaucrats with little or no experience in the classroom are making decisions that will have little impact on them personally.  Many years ago I saw a poster produced by the Department of Education titled “How Children Learn.”  It was in the shape of a pyramid with many levels in different colours.  No doubt this was used to determine the curriculum for all government-run schools in Ontario.  It occurred to me that while it might be valid, it could also be flawed.  It might be appropriate for some children, but not for others.  Yet this would be the only model used by our schools for all of our children. 
I’m sure many remember “open classrooms.”  My children went to a school built on this idea.  They were in a classroom with two classes and two teachers.  The teachers found a way to divide the room in two, and no doubt agreed on a schedule were each would take turns talking to their students.  Maybe open classrooms would work with the right teachers, but it seemed to be a handicap for my kid’s teachers. 
We need schools where the principal is focused on the needs and goals of the students and parents.  This can only happen if the parents have the option to take their children (and give their money) to a better school, not just another school operated by the same monopoly. Vouchers might be an improvement, but the Department of Education will likely put more and more restrictions on where the vouchers may be used, effectively regaining control of education.

Friday, February 4, 2011

People have a right to operate their own business when they see fit!

The letter to the left was published in the Markham Economist on Jan. 22, 2011. It's a response to my original letter (see Jan. 17) about the Retail Holiday Business Act. So I responded. I sent the note below to Bernie O'Neill (editor) at the Economist, and he did NOT publish it. The beauty of having a blog is that you can get the word out one way or another. So here is my response to the objection from Frances Jimenea of Markham. 

Re: Holidays are for family, not grocery shopping (Jan. 22)

I offer my humble apologies to Frances Jimenea for having the temerity to suggest that businesses should be allowed to open on statutory holidays like Christmas or New Years.

Of course these are special holidays to Canadian families, and the Ontario government forces us to respect these days, whether we celebrate them or not. How is that fair and just?

Should we in Markham be grateful to the government for allowing the opening of the Pacific Mall to tourists on these special days? Are tourists more important than tax paying citizens? How is that fair and just?

The Retail Holiday Business Act has been applied, and police have charged one of the three offending businesses so far. In their defense I hope Foody Mart will use the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an imperfect document to be sure, but nevertheless some parts are applicable. Those parts that guarantee freedom of belief and religion and equality before and under the law.

There is nothing more arbitrary than government prohibitions, especially those where there are no victims and no damage. This is such a case.

Take notice, citizens of Markham, your elected officials are, and have been, silent on this issue. Are you surprised?

User Based Billing for the internet in Canada PODCAST included

It's called UBB or metered billing and it has become a hot topic around the web and political circles in Canada. The issue revolves around a recent decision made by the CRTC that essentially removes the "unlimited" option for subscribers who use internet resellers as their ISP. The resellers are using infrastructure that was built by the capital investments of Bell, Rogers, Telus and Shaw cable (the big 4). The resellers are using those "pipes" to deliver service and undercutting the big 4, so they complained. The CRTC design essentially forces the resellers to have tiered limited options just like the big 4 have had for several years now. If you want more internet usage you can buy more, but if you exceed the limit you will pay a heavy toll. Thats the problem, and of course it has been made worse by the increased downloading of movies, games and so on, by subscribers who are dumping their cable TV contracts.
Because this might be an election year, subscriber rumblings have reached the office of Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement, and he has promised he will review the CRTC decision, which is interesting because he can overrule it.

I discuss this issue with my friend Rod Rojas in a short podcast available on the Ontario Libertarian (OLP) website. Below is a description of the podcast and the link. I'll make excuses now. This is our first attempt at doing something like this (so not that polished really) but Rod and I are planning to make this a regular feature of the OLP site, and we have bigger plans.    

This Free-to-Choose podcast is about User-Based-Billing UBB. A recent decision by the CRTC forces small internet providers (often called resellers) to charge their subscribers based on their internet use. Previously the resellers were offering unlimited use for a set fee. Monthly fees for heavy internet users could rise dramatically. The essence of the problem seems to be related to competition (or the lack of it) and regulation by the CRTC. We encourage people to visit this website:

NEW WEBSITE: Ontario Libertarian Party - The Party of Choice

Introducing the new banner for the new look website of the Ontario Libertarian Party.
The OLP is gearing up for its biggest ever campaign in the provincial election to be held on October 6, 2011. We need everybody's help to have an impact.
We have a committed, excellent organizational team, lots more candidates, and we are up against a provincial government that is financially and morally bankrupt. Worst of all, the chief opposition party, is not much different.
Ontarians have a chance to change the direction of the province and move Ontario from the nanny state/have-not province that we have become, under the leadership of Dalton McGuinty's Liberals, back to its rightful place as the dynamo of Canada.
Visit our site, contribute to our War Chest, and tell your friends.